Roto-Rooter, Dishwashers, And The Economy


So I called the Rotor-Rooter 800 number to see how much they would charge to install a new dishwasher and the lady immediately asked me my name and address to set an appointment.  I told her the dishwasher wasn’t even here yet, and that I was calling around to get estimates not to set appointments, but she ignored me and pressed on.  I asked again how much they would charge and she said she couldn’t give me an estimate because she didn’t have the expertise to do so.  She then returned to appointment mode, but I stopped her, said I was looking for estimates not appointments, thanked her, and hung-up.

Two observations here.  One, who the hell doesn’t give some kind of estimate?  Even if it is just a per-hour charge.  And, two, what kind of expertise does it take to quote a price from a list? You know, $70 an hour plus parts? This can’t be that difficult, can it?

What is a customer supposed to do?  Set an appointment and then wait at home all day until they finally wander-in and give you a price? A price you may or may not want to pay. And if you don’t you have just wasted a day when you could have had someone who priced it up front installing it for you.  Or what is probably more likely – go ahead and pay their price because they are there and you don’t want to waste the time finding someone else.

Understand I’m not saying that Roto-Rooter is trying to rip anyone off.  Maybe their price would be very reasonable. That’s not the point.  The point is you have no way of knowing that until they are in your house and you have pretty much obligated yourself.

That’s not the way to win over customers in my opinion.  Especially in this “bad” economy we keep hearing about.

And speaking of the bad economy.  Here’s another, yet related,  tale.

This weekend loving wife and I dropped over two grand on a new fridge, stove, and dishwasher, all of which were excellent deals, especially the fridge, which was an “open box” item that saved us $700 alone.

Now considering that is a chunk of change to us we looked at four different places – Sears, Best Buy, Lowes, and HH Gregg – and after doing a round-robin and a half – we finally settled on HH Gregg.   And at all four stores we dickered with the salesman and every time we managed to get a few bucks off the price, but the last one was worth mentioning because when used the “bad” economy as an excuse for stores to discount stuff (any weapon in a fight), he immediately came back with, “There’s no bad economy, people are buying like crazy.”

We laughed and said that it must be bad because Barry and media kept saying it was, and he replied adamantly that that was all bull. He said that their store had been packed for the past few days and that with 90% of Americans still working there were still plenty of people buying.  Sure, he said, those people who are laid off or in iffy jobs are either unable or unwilling to buy, but there were still plenty who were.

And it got me to thinking.  Is the economy as bad as they are saying?  I think not.  Sure it’s easy for me to say what with my job being pretty secure, but like the guy said 90% of Americans are still working and from the number of people I saw buying things this weekend they are spending those paychecks soon as they get them.   So credit crunch and bank crisis aside, I have to wonder how much of this is real and how much is just more scary global warming climate change climate disruption nonsense that is pushed on us by so-called media financial experts, “bail-out” hungry businesses, and power-hungry politicians.

Another observation.  When we used the bad economy excuse it appeared to me that we pissed-off the salesman a bit.  He didn’t say anything specifically (he wanted the sale of course), but I got the impression that he did not like us saying it.  Now, it could be that he was just tired of hearing customers use that excuse as a negotiating tactic, but the more I thought about it I think it might be something deeper.  Here’s a guy whose job depends on people spending money in his store.  And when Barry and the media keep whining about how bad things are and how much worse they are going to get, sooner or later people are going to stop spending money in his store and his livelihood is in danger.

So naturally he is a bit touchy about it.

This isn’t an original thought as you know – sadly I don’t have many of those (but then again 99% of the bloggers out there are just saying the same things in slightly different ways) – but it does put a real person in the mix and I think that’s interesting.  Especially when it’s not a person whining for a handout.

But here’s the deal on this whole bad economy thing. Barry and the Democrats have a lot to do and relatively little time to do it.  They know that once the economy starts to recover they cannot push through all this “socialism in the guise of crisis response” nonsense so they have to strike now while the striking is good.  Sure it will only make the economy really tank, but they could care less when their goal is to set-up an enlarged and permanent “dependency” power-base for the Democratic party.

Which I guess won’t be so bad, right?  I mean this salesman can just sit at home and collect a check instead of worrying about his next sale.

Good times.

And speaking of good times.  Loving wife and I were thinking.  When I retire in a few years my income is going to drop by about half and, absent finding another job,  I may need some help paying my mortgage.  So I suggested to her that when that happens we just apply for that new Federal Loan Modification Program and get our payments slashed in half. I mean, why not? If irresponsible people can get their loans forgiven or lowered, why not a responsible, tax paying citizen like me? It’s only fair, right? And fair is what our new Democrat overlords are all about as you all know.

And speaking of fair (yes, I know I just used this in the previous paragraph but cut me some slack).  And the so-called equality that defines fair under liberal rule. I saw Dr. Zhivago this weekend and one scene hit me. The doctor and his wife had come back to their spacious home which is now occupied by dozens of people all put there by the new communist government and watched by two creepy communist party officials. Officials who take every opportunity to remind them that they are now no better than anyone else and that they had better watch what they say or be hauled-off to some re-education camp at best or shot at worst. Not that where they are now is very nice. The once-great home is now just a slum, filled with greedy people who feel entitled to what the good doctor had earned with his skill and hard work.

But now everyone is equal. Equally miserable, but equal.

How wonderfully fair.



  1. I haven’t been shopping, but that’s normal for me – this being a single parent household. But I was talking to my office mate today and she shops continually. She was at the mall this weekend and said it was packed. People ARE shopping.
    Our President just scares me in his misguided (at best) plans for our country.

  2. TRO I’m in total agreement with you. We keep hearing how this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. I wasn’t alive during that time but from everything I have seen, heard and read on that period I can pretty much guarantee that people didn’t stop on the way to work for a $5.00 Starbucks coffee, or line up for a $200 iPhone or even wait in line for a new $100 video game. It seems that every time Obama opens his mouth about the economy, the market loses 250 points. At this point he might just need to shut the hell up.

  3. Damn, things must be tough in Hooterville … who runs Roto-Rooter there … Hank Kimball ?

    First, I’d like to address this to garryk’s comment. “Shut the hell up ?” Garryk … that’s how we got in this mess in the first place … by Bush not telling the American public how bad things were … and the Presidential LOSER (McCain) also failed to accept reality by continually saying the economy was sound.

    And if you, TRO, have doubts that the economy is in bad shape … puhlease … remove your blinders. You live in the state of Tennessee … in fact near it’s capital. You’ve got to be hearing the news of the budget crisis in this state. The University of Tenn just had to let over 100 employees go … University of Memphis offered a buyout package for nearly 200. And that was just the first round.

    Want more … FedEx reduces salaried employees pay by 5%. You think Fred Smith is gullible enough to buy in to “Bad Economy Hype” as you allude. He makes decisions based on “package volume” … if people AIN’T BUYIN … packages AIN’T FLYIN … their new motto.

    And your Starbucks observation smells like a rotten egg also … why are they closing hundreds of stores ???

    Not convinced ? I’m sure you, like me and most Americans, have some stock holdings. Well consider this … When the market is doing well … people are FLUSH with cash and thus are more willing to spend. With the DOW falling under 7000 yesterday that means that the market has lost 50% of its value since October 2007. Now most of Americans holding stock have seen their cash accounts IMPLODE … they ain’t gonna spend JACK.

    And those people in the mall … you think … just maybe … they might be a little like you .. shopping for a bargain …. since you heard they were discounting electronics like the power is gonna be turned off tomorrow.

    Enjoy your next job as a Walmart Greeter TRO !!!

  4. Hey, Ed, exactly WHEN does this mess belong to your Barry? Are you going to blame Bush for all our problems until 2012? Or 2016 if Barry makes eight years by some miracle?

    This is HIS problem now, Ed. He passed this moronic stimulus package and he is about to pass the largest and most pork-ridden, socialist budget in the history of the United State, and he is going to OWN everything that happens after that. You really believe tax increases on small businesses are going to stimulate the economy? You really believe that nationalized health care and a cap and trade scheme on energy are going to produce jobs?

    Because if you do, then Ed, you are not as smart as I thought.

    Bush is no longer president, Ed. Get past your BDS and take responsibility for your vote and your new president.

    That said, I never said the economy wasn’t in bad shape. I said, and still believe, that it is not in as bad a shape as Barry and the liberal media are saying it is. If you look hard enough you can find plenty of economists that say it will turn around on its own in as little as a year – assuming Barry doesn’t kill it with all this socialist tax-increasing bullshit he is trying to pass. Which he will, so yeah, considering that, things are going to get worse.

    BTW, I am much amused at your concern over the stock market when it is Barry’s stimulus plan and his proposed budget that is making it crash. Every time the man opens his mouth the market drops 300 points.

    THAT is leadership.

    Fortunately for me all my money is safe because I was smart enough to put it in the TSP G fund which is guaranteed (low rate of return but no loss). Yeah, I lost some before I got it all over but I have actually made a slight profit over the past quarter because of I saw what was coming. Plus, my job is safe because Barry has never seen a government job he didn’t like. (I suppose I should feel guilty about that when others are in danger, but frankly I do not. Especially when those losing their jobs include people who voted for Barry. Tell you what though, if I were a business owner and I had to lay off people, the FIRST ones to go would be anyone who voted for Barry.)

    And as to my retirement job, well, I have four and a half years to prep for one of those sweet new jobs Barry is going to create.

  5. I have several thoughts, on this, and they sorta bump into each other, so who knows in what order–or disorder–they’ll come out??

    1. The Democrats never met a crisis they could pass up. Such opportunities! Sadly, they truly control both Houses and the White House (as opposed to the Republicans who were in that enviable position, some years back, and squandered the opportunities). So they will milk the current crisis–which certainly is real, around here–for all they can get out of us, and if they can make it worse, in the process, that’s just gravy.

    2. We are among those who are hurting, around here. We’re not in a bread line, yet, and have a cushion good for maybe 8 to 10 weeks, possibly a little more, before we are just flat out of money. The good news: We have no debts. The bad news: We have no jobs coming in and receivables of less than $1,000. And through 2008, ours was one of the most successful businesses of its kind, anywhere, especially given that it was strictly “Mom ‘n Pop.”

    3. What was that Dustin Hoffman movie made during the Clinton years, in which the President of the US asked the Hoffman character to create a war?

  6. Forgot one point: I honestly believe that, if the media, the President, Pelosi and Reid (or maybe any two of them) started talking UP the economy, instead of talking it down, the level of confidence would rise measurably in a week’s time, and people would start spending, again, planning vacations, and all those things people do in a good economy. All those things we *did*….

  7. You’re right on all points, Vicki, and I hope your business turns around soon.

  8. I hope you recover from that “open mouth … insert foot” virus that seems to be dragging you down. Get better soon !!! 🙂

    Ok, from my point of view … WE (All Americans own this mess)
    Yes that includes Barry … and if things don’t get better in 8 years, he will accept most of the blame.

    It’s going to take a bipartisan effort to climb out of this economic downturn. There is an article today of Barry and McCain working on a restructuring of the govt contract bid process that will save 40 billion a year. I knew there was something I liked about McCain … he is true patriot … he loves his country … he fought in Vietnam for it … and he is working WITH Barry to heal it … What is the rest of the GOP doing ?

    Now … You need to stop twisting the facts.
    The stock market started the current nosedive in Oct 2007 … that’s a fact.

    When you say it is going down every time Barry opens his mouth … you are making a broad assumption. I’m quite sure you are very much like Rush and want Barry to fail. That sounds very UN-American to me. I personally think Rush fried his brain on all that medication he was taking back in the 90’s.

    The stock market is getting hit daily with companies (mostly private) reporting dismal operating results. Many are cutting dividends. The financial sector looks like a war zone. You think that maybe that could be causing the continued slide in the market ? Ya think ?

    Now … I WANT my leaders to tell me how bad things really are. I don’t want them to MISLEAD the public. That way I can better plan on where my assets should be and how to protect them.

    Evidently you got a confidential memo from Bush last year warning that all hell was about to break loose with the economy. Congrats … the general public got Diddley from him.

    Vicki’s testimonial is REAL and one of many.
    Hang in there gal … Barry is fighting for you !!!

  9. Vicki, I think that movie was “Wag the Dog” ?

  10. I don’t own this mess. I did not contribute one single thing to it. I paid my taxes. I paid my mortgage. I didn’t over spend or get myself into financial danger because I was greedy and I did not expect everyone else to bail me out.

    Exactly how is it going to take a bipartisan effort to bail us out of this mess? The Democrats control the Congress and the Senate and the White House. They don’t need anyone from the GOP to help them and even then they are pretty much going to get at least a few Republicans who pretend to be conservatives but who are not.

    Barry and the Dems are in charge, so don’t piss and moan about the GOP when things go downhill. Or blame Rush Limbaugh. Damn, that is so pathetic. And so predictable.

    Barry’s uncertainly of leadership and trillion dollar budget that includes tax increases on investment and so forth are DIRECTLY responsible for the stock market crashing now. I have no doubt, and frankly more and more people – even liberals – recognize it.

    I DO want Barry to fail, in that I want him to fail in making America into a socialist nation. His policies are NOT going to help. They cannot help. So yes I want those policies to fail and fail miserably.

    And that is unAmerican? Ha. Funny how liberals were all over hoping Bush would fail – including you – and it was all “patriotic dissent” but now that your guy is in power you want all the rest of us to just bow down and do as we are told.

    Screw that, Ed. Frankly, if you or anyone else voted for Obama I don’t have one bit of sympathy for your plight. And as to Vicki, well, I do hope things work out for her, but if they do it will NOT be because of Barry. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about small business. He’s much rather have her on the dole so he can control her.

    Barry is turning what should be a one to two year downturn into a legitimate national crisis. Assuming his budget gets passed and frankly the only way it won’t is if the Democrats don’t pass it on their own.

    As to my recognizing that I needed to safeguard my savings – well, it didn’t take any memo from Bush. I was simply smarter than you and saw that if Barry won things would crash. And I was right.

  11. Eddie,
    Obviously you don’t listen to Rush. Rush wants Odumba to fail to destroy America with his Socialist policies.

  12. You miss my point …. sigh …
    Point being we are ALL affected by this economic downturn.
    America OWNS this problem … what country are you from ?

    I never wanted Bush to FAIL.

    I wanted him to get those poor Americans out of the Superdome.
    Eventually he did after 3 days of suffering.
    I wanted him to turn back the insurgents and turn over the policing of Baghdad to the Iraqi’s.
    As far as I know our brave lads are still over there policing.
    I wanted him to get that bastard Bin Ladin.
    This guy is still free to do more harm to America.

    And I was NOT happy when he DID FAIL.

    I’ve listened to Rush …
    Rush is NOT RIGHT !!!

  13. “You miss my point …. sigh …
    Point being we are ALL affected by this economic downturn.
    America OWNS this problem … what country are you from ?”

    I don’t own it. You may, because you voted for the guy who is only making it worse. The only thing I own is my share of misery I suppose and I don’t plan on sitting back and being miserable waiting on government handouts. And even if I did feel I owned it, that does NOT mean I have to follow Barry and his bad ideas for fixing it. You want to turn the economy around? You want your stocks to rise? Then lower taxes, help small and large businesses to create jobs and forget all this socialist pork he has in that budget.

    “I never wanted Bush to FAIL.”

    Pardon me if I view this with a grain of salt.

    “I wanted him to get those poor Americans out of the Superdome .Eventually he did after 3 days of suffering.”

    Oh, you mean Mayor Nagin, don’t you? I was there helping so I know a bit about it. Three whole days. Damn, the folks in Mississippi suffered just as long without whining about it.

    “I wanted him to turn back the insurgents and turn over the policing of Baghdad to the Iraqi’s. As far as I know our brave lads are still over there policing.”

    We won the war in Iraq, Ed, but even Barry knows we need to leave the troops there a bit longer. He also knows he can’t do away with Gitmo (any time soon), or the Patriot Act, or the FISA warrant program, or rendition, or all the other stuff I am sure you think Bush should have not done.

    “I wanted him to get that bastard Bin Ladin. This guy is still free to do more harm to America.”

    No worries, I am SURE Barry will get him. Hell, he is probably already about to surrender just because he is in office.

    “I’ve listened to Rush … Rush is NOT RIGHT !!!”

    We will have to agree to disagree on this one. Much like everything.

  14. Have a good evening comrade …

    • The thing is, Ed, is that you want me to “hope” Barry succeeds despite all the reasons his stimulus and budget are doomed to failure. Hope is all this guy is about. But I got news for him and you and everyone who still believes in him (fewer and fewer each day). Hope is not enough.

  15. Ahem…the kids don’t like it when Dad and Uncle fight.

    On the other hand, it’s TRO’s blog and so I’ll retreat to my corner. Thank you both for your well-wishes. However, Ed, TRO is correct in saying that, if (I prefer “when”) we recover, it won’t be to Obama’s credit. In 2005-2007, we brought in well in excess of the maximum he thinks we have any right to. As we recover–provided we hang on long enough–Bruce will have to turn down work, if it looks as though we’ll make “too much” money, again.

    ‘Course, he did that in 2007–turned away at least as much as he accepted–and we still made it hand over fist. We’ll both be satisfied with a lot less than we made then, because Bruce was working way too hard; but we do need to eat, pay our utilities, pay for our healthcare (another sore point, under Obama), keep our cars running, help my mom so she can continue to live in a nice retirement home, assist my sister so she can be available to run Mom to dr’s., and such…and we have commitments to several children who have hope for the future, because we are able to help them. We don’t want to let them down.

  16. Vicki,

    Of course I meant “when” they do. I was just typing fast. Sorry, beautiful 🙂

  17. 😮

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